Downsizing Best Practices

We hope you were able to glimpse the recent “supermoon.” So-called because the full moon that drifted across America at night was the closest it has been to the earth since 1948. That’s a long time ago but if you missed it, you’ve got a long wait until the next one. According to NASA, the next supermoon of this magnitude won’t occur until the year 2034. The latest supermoon was the biggest since Harry Truman was president. Yet on the other side of the scale, there are those who are searching for something smaller, not larger. They’re retirees or “empty nesters” who are looking for a smaller place to live. Here are some tips when considering downsizing.

Where you want to live is really an open canvas. You can live anywhere you want given your income and expenses but when retiring it’s important to consider the local climate. If you’re looking in the northern part of the country be prepared for colder winters and less sunshine. That will mean higher heating costs in the winter. In the south, it can get pretty hot in the summer and you can expect higher cooling bills as well. Try and locate a more temperate year-round climate for both comfort as well as cost savings.

Okay, you downsize from a four bedroom home to a two bedroom property. What do you do with all your stuff? It can be hard to let some things go that has been in your family for years but if you don’t decide to part you’ll end up paying unnecessary storage fees. Instead, try giving the pieces you hate to part with to family members. At least it stays in the family. Otherwise, it’s time for a garage sale.

Consider property maintenance as well. With a condo you won’t have a lawn to mow and property maintenance is covered by monthly homeowner association dues. Make sure you research the management of the condo or PUD to make sure the finances are stable. Yes, condos and managed neighborhoods do have a homeowners’ association fee but with a condo you don’t have to have a hazard insurance policy, either.

Buying smaller also means having a smaller monthly payment if you intend to finance your next home. Speak with a financial planner about the implications of financing a smaller home along with a mortgage payment or paying with cash from the proceeds of the sale.

Finally, once your priorities are set, it’s time to talk to your real estate agent. After a conversation about your requirements and what you’re looking for, the agent does the rest.